A new build through-school providing learning facilities for pupils with multiple Special educational Needs and Disabilities. The school is a Teaching School, so the brief included facilities for visiting lecturers, health specialists and teachers from other schools. Also included in the project was boarding accommodation, each unit having overnight staff accommodation and admin and catering facilities.
A clear hierarchy of external spaces is key to creating a range of learning environments. Protected, dedicated “outdoor classroom” lead to shared space with similar age groups and then to the wider court and recreation areas beyond, allowing progression and safety for pupils. Generous covered external spaces are turned 90 degrees to the facade, creating sheltered areas which frame the external “outdoor classroom”, without compromising daylight or visibility to and from classrooms .
Maximum 2-storeys minimises pupil movement during the school day whilst allowing them to acquire life skills though limited use of stairs. The Location of all class bases to the rear of the building shields them from traffic noise and allows direct access to protected external areas. Internal courtyards provide daylight and natural ventilation into the deep plan of the building and most classrooms face South, facilitating a clear thermal strategy throughout the building, taking advantage of solar gain
Reducing impact on complex vehicle drop-off movement was key in site organisation. All pupils need to be delivered and collected by mini-bus, taxi or parental car. The main school building bisects the site, separating vehicular movement at the front from pupils’ recreation area at the rear, without the need for extensive and ugly fencing and barriers. Vehicles are brought off the main road, onto site as quickly as possible, one way system and holding area then traffic light control site exit.